Gamecock football prepares for first home game of 2019

2nd day of football practice during fall camp, 2019.

Josie Howell, Sports Editor

After the August 29 loss against Southeastern Louisiana, the Gamecocks are preparing for their first home game of the season against the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. 

The last time these two teams played was in August of 2017, which ended in a victory for the Gamecocks, with a 27-13 final score. 

Since then, both the Gamecocks and Mocs have retired many players and have added new players to their roster, so anything is possible for Saturday’s game.

“I think we have a high chance of winning this game despite the issues we had the past game,” said starting quarterback Zerrick Cooper. “As for me going into this game, I’m going to treat it like a normal game nothing more. I think it’s a good thing to play in front of our crowd. It gives us an opportunity to showcase our team to them as they continue to cheer and support us.” 

In last Thursday’s game against Southeastern Louisiana, Cooper threw for a total of 414 yards and he is expected to bring the same energy and talent to this Saturday’s game against UTC. Cooper brought in well over 3,000 yards in the 2018 season and has made a huge impact for the Gamecocks.

“We are just looking forward to getting back on the field and responding to a tough loss against Southeastern Louisiana,” said JSU’s safety Darius Joiner. “I’m excited to play in front of our loyal JSU fans. We waited all summer to get to put on a show for our fans. [To prepare] we’re going to watch film and go into the game and execute the game plan that was set out for us all week.” 

Joiner had a career high of 27 tackles in the 2018 season. He also made an impressive seven tackles in the game against Southeastern Louisiana, and he also had three solos and four assists.

Jalen Choice, a JSU linebacker who had four tackles, four assists and one solo during the Gamecocks loss last week, has been a key player for Jacksonville State’s defense.

“I approach every game the same no matter who we play,” said Linebacker Jale Choice about how he plans to approach Saturday’s game. “I am really excited to play in front of our home crowd. I hope everyone comes and supports for the entire game!” 

UTC’s starting quarterback, Nick Tiano, is one to be on the lookout for during the game Saturday. In his 2018 season, Tiano brought in a total of 2,949 yards and he now has an impressive career high of 4,207 yards. Tiano also played an integral role in the Mocs Victory in their season opener against Eastern Illinois.

UTC linebackers Marshall Cooper and Ty Boeck are both key players for the Mocs defense and made a big impact in their game against Eastern Illinois. Both players combined for a total of 16 tackles, Cooper with 10 and Boeck with a career best of six tackles.

This match-up is just one of seven home games for the Gamecocks. The game will be held on Saturday, September 7, at Burgess Snow Field, beginning at 6 p.m.

Photo courtesy of Matt Reynolds/JSU

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